Green Island National Park
Getting there and getting around
Green Island is 27km offshore from Cairns in far north Queensland. Most visitors travel to Green Island on commercial boat tours from Cairns. Commercial tours depart from the Reef Fleet Terminal located at the end of Spence Street. Travel time to the island varies between 40 and 60 minutes. Commercial helicopter and seaplane services also operate to and from the island.
Green Island also offers safe anchorage for private vessels. Once you are on the island, a walking track provides access to the national park.
Boardwalks and walkways throughout the national park and within the resort area are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
Green Island is the most popular destination on the Great Barrier Reef. This 12ha island is a true coral cay formed over thousands of years by the build-up of sand and coral rubble deposited on the calm side of a platform reef. The island is covered in tropical vine forest which supports a diversity of birds and insects. The surrounding coral reef is home to many kinds of corals, clams, fish, stingrays and other reef life. Green and hawksbill turtles are seen offshore.
The island and reef are part of the traditional sea country of the Gungandji Aboriginal people. They know the island as "Wunyami". The Gungandji people maintain a close connection with the island, formerly an initiation ground for young men.
Green Island has been a popular tourist resort for more than a century. The island became a national park in 1937, a marine park in 1974 and part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area in 1981. Today the island, reef and beaches are managed together as a recreation area.
Camping and accommodation
Camping is not allowed on Green Island.
The Green Island Resort provides luxury accommodation on the island adjacent to the national park.
Things to do
Boardwalk — 1.3km return (50mins) Grade: Very easy
From the jetty and resort area, a boardwalk provides access through the forest of the national park to the south-eastern beach. A self-guided island walk brochure assists visitors to explore Green Island at their own pace and is available at the information counter in the resort.
Guided tours and talks
The resort and commercial tour operators offer guided nature walks daily around the national park.
Picnic and day use areas
Several picnic areas are provided for visitors. Toilets, showers, telephones and food outlets are provided within the resort for day visitors.
Boating and fishing
Green Island provides safe anchorage for private vessels. Anchoring within 50m of a mooring is not permitted in Locality 3 of the Cairns Area Plan of Management. Motorised watersports are not permitted in Locality 1, 2, and 3.
Fishing is not allowed in waters surrounding Green Island as they are within the Scientific Research and Marine National Park (green) Zone of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. For more detailed zoning maps and information for State waters, see Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and for Commonwealth waters, see Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Information is also available from QPWS Cairns Information Centre.
Green Island offers visitors the chance to experience a tiny tropical island on the Great Barrier Reef close to Cairns. Amble along the boardwalks to see forest birds and insects. Wander along the beach and look for seabirds, and, on the water's surface, turtles. View the reef, either by snorkelling or from the comfort of a glass-bottomed boat, and see a myriad of fish, corals and other invertebrates that comprise the Great Barrier Reef. With more than 35 species of seabirds, 28 species of forest birds and a surrounding reef rich with a diversity of marine life, Green Island visitors will truly feel close to nature.
Other things to do
A patrolled swimming area is provided on the northern side of the island near the Beach Hire Hut.
Snorkelling areas are generally not supervised and you enter the water at your own risk. Snorkelling is supervised near the Beach Hire Hut but it is advisable to seek advice from the life guard about safe locations on the day.
Activities such as snorkelling, diving and other water sports are also provided by the resort. Hire of watersports equipment, lockers, towels and umbrellas is available through the resort and Beach Hire Hut. Commercial attractions on the island include the world's first underwater observatory and Marineland Melanesia Crocodile Park. For more information see the tourism information links below.
Things to know before you go
Essentials to bring
Preparation is the key to a safe and enjoyable visit. Make sure that you bring:
>>protective clothing, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun;
>>suitable shoes for walking on rough surfaces; and
>>insect repellent to avoid mosquito and sandfly bites.
Green Island National Park is open all year round, however visitors should check weather conditions as the island may be inaccessible if strong wind warnings, gales or cyclonic activity prevent commercial boat tours from operating. A ranger is based on Green Island but there is no staffed office. An information counter is provided in the resort.
Permits and fees
Permits are required for all commercial activities or group functions within the park.
Climate and weather
Green Island National Park has a tropical climate. In summer, the daytime temperatures average 30 degrees Celsius with high humidity and rainfall. From April to September, the days are cooler and less humid and, despite the steady south-easterly trade winds, this is usually the best time to visit.
QPWS Cairns Information Centre
5B Sheridan Street Cairns, Queensland
ph (07) 4046 6600
fax (07) 4046 6751
EPA Customer Service Centre
160 Ann Street, Brisbane
PO Box 15155, City East Qld 4002
ph (07) 3227 8185
fax (07) 3227 8749
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service